News: Paraguayan peacekeepers train to protect human rights for next mission in Haiti
Story by Sgt. Cory Grogan
PANCHKHAL, Nepal - The Parguayan Army traveled a long way to get to Nepal for a field training exercise called Shanti Prayas 2, and the fortitude they brought from South America was evident as they shared culture and proudly represented their nation.
Shanti Prayas-2 is a multinational exercise from March 25 to April 7, designed to train Global Peace Operations Initiative partner nations how to provide effective personnel for deployment on United Nations peacekeeping missions.
1st Lt. Jesus Leguizamon said his platoon will be going on a peacekeeping mission to Haiti soon and that the exercise is very important for them.
“For us, we want to learn about UN mission peacekeeping, and only a few of us have done missions,” Leguizamon said.
Leguizamon said one of the most important parts of the exercise is learning from other nations.
“It is very important for us in the Army to learn other cultures for success in peacekeeping,” he said. “We have a variety of people and we want to learn UN peacekeeping because we will be deploying to Haiti.”
The field training exercise has 11 Platoons from 11 Nations working to reinforce and improve tactical, multinational interoperability. Countries with platoons represented in the field training are: Nepal (2 platoons), Bangladesh, Cambodia, Japan, Indonesia, Jordan (with a Kazakhstan squad embedded), Mongolia, Philippines, Rwanda and Paraguay.
“We share many experiences among those of us who have been on missions,” said Cpt. Victor Jara, who is one those few from Paraguay who have been on a peacekeeping mission before. “These missions do not have the same principles as military training and we have to use a lot of common sense to manage humanitarian rights.”
Participants are receiving training in areas such as cordon, search, checkpoint and convoy operations, setting up a UN designated site, properly performing humanitarian distribution, and dismounted patrols.
Jara said he has already been on a peacekeeping mission to Haiti and that the experience affected him in a very profound way.
“From Haiti, I realized we have to learn more everyday because the challenges are different in each situation,” he said.
The Paraguayan platoon was selected after South American officials decided they wanted to have representation at the exercise, Jara explained. He said he is very excited and motivated for the training.
“This is peacekeeping and we will learn how to manage different situations and learn from different people.”